It seems like Blizzard doesn’t actually know where to take Diablo.
Diablo: Immortal’s announcement caused a major controversy among Blizzard fans, with many in particular questioning the company’s commitment to what was once its most beloved IP. Diablo 3 was over six years ago, and the game has been conspicuously silent for the last few of those. With no new expansion coming, and no new major game in the series announced, is Immortal all that fans can expect?
In a new report by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, the development of Diablo 4 is explored in depth. The project has had a troubled development, he reports, originally beginning life as “Hades”, which was going to be helmed by Josh Mosqueira, who led the console versions of Diablo 3, as well as the Reaper of Souls expansion. Hades was going to take the franchise in a radically different direction—specifically, the game was going to become a Dark Souls-like.
It was going to go dark, and back to the gothic aesthetic the franchise had first been associated with, ditch the isometric camera for an over the shoulder view, and was going to be such a departure from Diablo that Blizzard wasn’t even sure it would be called Diablo 4, when all was said and done.
In the end, by 2016, the project ended up being cancelled, and Mosqueira left Blizzard—although it’s not clear which caused which.
While the veracity of the report is not at a full 100% certainty, Schreier is known for his exposes, and there’s no reason to doubt the report. And if the report is true, then some things become clear—Diablo 4 hadn’t begun proper development even by 2016, and Blizzard truly doesn’t know where it wants to take the franchise.
For fans of the series, that may not be a comforting realization.